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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to engage with a query from a Fox News correspondent who asked why President Joe Biden was able to visit Buffalo to comfort victims of a white supremacist mass shooting which took place there over the weekend but not other disaster-stricken communities.
Correspondent Peter Doocy on Monday pressed Ms Jean-Pierre, who was conducting her first briefing since taking over for former press secretary Jen Psaki, on why Mr Biden did not also choose to visit Waukesha, Wisconsin after a man who was allegedly fleeing a domestic dispute fatally ran down six people and injured 61 others during the town’s 21 November 2021 Christmas parade.
Ms Jean-Pierre replied that Mr Biden “is able” to visit Buffalo on Tuesday, and said he has visited “many, many other communities” after similar tragedies.
“This is … not the first community, sadly, that he has to go up to, because of a violent attack,” she said.
Mr Doocy’s question, intentionally or not, could be interpreted as furthering a theory espoused by some conservative commentators which holds that Mr Biden is choosing to visit Buffalo because the mass shooting — which was allegedly carried out by a self-described white supremacist who drove two hours from his home to attack a supermarket in a majority Black neighbourhood — was perpetrated against Black victims by a white gunman.
In the wake of the Waukesha tragedy last year, right-wing media figures and some GOP politicians complained that Mr Biden — and major news outlets — ignored the tragedy because the alleged perpetrator was Black.
Mr Biden did not, however, ignore the Waukesha attack.
The day after the tragedy, he addressed the matter during a news conference to announce his nomination of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for a second term.
"Last night the people of Waukesha were gathered to celebrate the start of a season of hope and togetherness and Thanksgiving," he said. "This morning Jill and I and the entire Biden family and, I'm sure all of us, pray that that same spirit is going to embrace and lift up all the victims of this tragedy, bringing comfort to those recovering from the injuries and wrapping the families of those who died in support of their community."